Monday, November 10, 2008
Last night was amazing. Ryan and I were lucky enough to be able to get tickets and be in down town Chicago to celebrate Barack Obama's winning of the election. The energy in the city was contagious hours before we knew if Obama would win. Seeing the joy and enthusiasm in people of all ages and colors on the city streets was an overwhelming experience I will never forget.
Getting into Grant Park and learning right after the polls closed on the west coast that Obama had won was electrifying. The crowd was insane with unbelievable joy and happiness. We hugged, cried, hollered, jumped up and down and chanted. I can not really describe how amazing it was, I can only say it was one of the most profound events I have ever experienced and for personal highs it is right up there with the day I got married. I feel so grateful that I was able to witness history being made first hand and hear and see President Elect Barack Obama (gives me chills to write that) give his acceptance speech.
It was beautiful and I feel truly encouraged for the future of our country.
At the end of this email I have shared thoughts from my father, a 72 year old man, who expressed his perspective quite beautifully - it moved me to tears.
I was a Senior in law school at Loyola in 1960 when John Kennedy was inaugurated. I will never forget him standing in the bitter cold Washington winter without an overcoat giving a speech that moved me and my generation to tears and to the Peace Corps. And I will long remember an aged Robert Frost enunciating his inaugural poem, far from his best, but symbolizing the idealism and desire for a non-partisan United States to once again command the respect of the world not because of our military force, but because of our idealism, our integrity, our universal possibilities for all citizens, and our devotion to freedom.
Last night, for the first time since 1960, our President-elect moved me to tears. Not only because he is the first orator since JFK to be our President, but because his words reached out to every one of us to join together regardless of color, creed, party, economic standing, or any other differences to work to make this blessed country the United States of America.
I am reminded of the beautiful moment when Vice President Mondale of Minnesota went in the USA Gold Metal locker room after the Miracle on Ice victory over the Russians, the best hockey team in the world. Mondale asked, "Where are the Minnesota boys?" Coach Herb Brooks, whose brilliant leadership brought respect back to the USA-USA-USA said, "Mr. Vice-President, there are no Minnesota boys here. These boys are all Americans." I felt that way last night hearing Barack.
May God bless and protect him as he gives meaning to profound change in this great nation, a profound change in our domestic and economic lives and our international reputation. I am proud to be an American and, like you, I want to answer the noble call Jack Kennedy gave my generation in 1960: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
I ask my Republican friends to join with us in enriching this land of freedom. To those of you who may be prejudiced because life is a pluralistic society that can breed cynicism, I ask you to realize there is much more that binds us together than keeps us apart. We have lived to see history made.
The President-elect’s quoting of Abraham Lincoln is not only a tribute to Illinois, but a reflection of our enduring debt to one of our greatest Presidents who led us through a horrific Civil War and made this country the land of the free. May the courage and independence President Lincoln brought this nation in a time of great need serve President Obama as he embarks upon leading this country in another time of great need. Let us all put our shoulders together in working and sacrificing for a real United States of America. My words are nothing. What lies in our hearts today is everything. America is a place where all things are possible.
William J Martin
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